The value of Handmade

studio, kri kri, tall gourd lamp, work in progress
Kri Kri adding stripes to Tall Gourd lamp base

“What value, if any, do handmade objects add to our lives and homes today?”

One of the first things I notice is that items that are not machine made  seem to stand out from the crowd of other objects in a room. Regardless of how skillfully it is made, the handmade object has a life of its own. A handmade piece of cloth, or a painting versus a print, can completely change how a room feels. I could say, “It adds warmth.” But what is that “warmth”?

Every item that has been hand crafted captures some of the human energy that went into making it. That is something that can’t be replicated by a machine. That is the “warmth”. An item made by hand is tactile. Primitive or not, that item contains a spirit and becomes a manifestation of our creative potential. Having artisan made objects around me gives me inspiration, indirectly. They do not make me feel that I need to create. Instead, I feel more connected to my human-ness in a comforting way.

A handmade object is imperfect. Perhaps that makes it more relaxing to be around. We are not perfect beings either. Subtly, one is reminded that there is beauty or at least charm in the irregular. Those who love crafts have come to appreciate those inevitable flaws.

It is my belief that handmade objects do add value to our lives. As technology continues to play a bigger role in our lives, it is important to remember how much our hands can do and discover. Handmade connects us to other humans in a sensual way. Handmade reminds us that we are creative beings, with flaws. Could it be possible that having more handmade objects in our lives might nudge us to be more accepting of ourselves and our human imperfections? Can those faults be quirks and considered endearing traits and characterful? More to ponder!

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Meet the Gourd

VIT ceramics, lamps, chocko, gourd, vase, torso, pottery lamps, ceramics lamps, moderrn, contemporary
VIT torso vase in gray, Chocko lamp & Gourd lamp in coral

 

The Gourd lamp is the latest shape in my collection of  handmade ceramic lamps from Kri Kri Studio. This June they will debut at the dwell on design 2014 show in LA along with the VIT ceramics range of vases.

The form has a slightly irregular perfection, the result of being built up by hand using the coil and pinch technique. This method of construction also allows for traces of the artist’s touch to remain in the softly textured surface. Large, ripe and full of life, the form adds warmth to a room, especially in juicy coral-red. With each available color the personality and mood of the piece changes. Considered in gray, the Gourd lamp is feminine and elegant. However, in yellow it is positively buoyant! Jade green, taupe and Danish blue are also offered.

Creating this collection has been a refreshing change from producing my tableware. I feel I am returning to my roots as a sculptor and find that the lamps are a wonderful vehicle for expressing forms. They are also a pleasing way to combine art and functionality.

With a simple off white linen shade to compliment the hand drawn white stripes, the Gourd lamp stands 22″ tall x 15″ wide.

Evolution

VIT ceramic vase, handmade, modern, taupe, kri kri studio, Seattle
VIT Eve vase with lilies

The evolution of the vase range has been organic, with one thing leading to another very naturally. I knew that I needed a larger vase and had been mulling over some shape ideas in my head for sometime. Then, along came “Grammie’s urn” project. That took my thoughts away from a just a vessel for flowers to a shape that required a more intimate involvement. Developing the urn made a fine launching pad for this vase. As mentioned in my last post, I considered Grammie’s femininity and incorporated that into the design. Nipping the vase in at the waist, in an  allusion to the female figure, allows the shape to support the flowers. With a classic full bouquet, this could be seen as a warm, overflowing bosom. Is there anything so welcoming as a bountiful floral arrangement?! Like the idealized woman, my new vase is also accommodating. Take pleasure in highlighting the qualities of a few large blossoms. Look forward to spring when this vase can host a bunch of inky blue irises.

Now that summer has passed, casting and drying a ceramic piece takes a lot longer. Then, there is the process of glazing and firing. One by one, as they gradually come out of the mold, I try the vase in a new VIT color. It is always delightful to see a new shape in another color for the first time. Much in the same way that it is a pleasure to see a good friend dressed up in a new outfit, one sees the piece differently and can appreciate another facet of its beauty.

Each piece needs a name and this vase vase will get a one special one. I will call it “Eve”, after Evelyn Nelson Hildebrand, for my own indulgence. But, most will be able to identify the name with the feminine form which inspired it.